The role of the Governor when an election is called
The Governor does not participate in the political process. The primary role of the Governor is to ensure Queensland enjoys stable government that commands the popular support of the Parliament.
The Governor has a number of specific roles prior to, and immediately following, an election:
- Dissolving Parliament
- Issuing the Writ causing the election of 93 Members of the Legislative Assembly
- Receiving the return of the Writ following an election
- Appointing Ministers of the State, and members of Executive Council
Under the Queensland Constitution, the Governor – or the Acting Governor when the Governor is out of the State or when the Governor cannot act – can dissolve or prorogue Parliament. By convention, the Governor seeks the advice of the chief advisor, the Premier, in the exercise of this power. Under the system of government exercised in Queensland, the Governor is duty bound to, and almost always does, accept that advice.
Issuing the Writ
Under the Electoral Act 1992, the Governor issues the Writ causing a general election of the now 93 members of the Legislative Assembly. In practice, the Governor is advised by Executive Council in the exercise of this power.
The Writ commands the Electoral Commission of Queensland to conduct a general election in accordance with the law.
In Queensland, elections are always held on a Saturday.
Receiving the return of the Writ following an election
Following an election, the Commission hand writes the name of each candidate elected for the 93 electoral divisions on the Writ, and returns the Writ to the Governor.
Appointing the Premier and Ministers of the State and Members of Executive Council
The Governor’s primary role is to ensure Queensland enjoys stable government that commands the support of the Parliament. Under the Queensland Constitution, the Governor appoints Ministers of the State. The Governor also appoints members of Executive Council (by custom, the Premier and Ministers), to advise the Governor on the exercise of the Governor’s duties and powers. The Governor appoints as Premier – the chief Minister – the person who commands the support of the Legislative Assembly.
In Queensland, there will be 93 Members of the Legislative Assembly elected to the Fifty-Sixth Parliament. The Premier is usually the leader of the political party that wins more than half of the total number of seats (which will be 47 seats in the 56th Parliament).
Under the Queensland Constitution, the Governor summonses Parliament. Again, the Governor seeks the advice of the Premier in exercising this power.